Review of Fire Emblem Heroes


I finally got round to playing one of Nintendo’s iOS releases, namely Fire Emblem Heroes. Due to my lack of a mobile phone I never got into the Pokémon Go craze that swept the globe. Neither did I partake in Super Mario Run, because I am not a fan of the auto-runner genre. Fire Emblem Heroes was a day one download for me though, as I have been a fan of the series ever since I played Fire Emblem 7 on the Gameboy Advance. There’s no risk in trying out this portable strategy RPG given that it costs nowt to install. I welcome entertainment that is gratis in these financially tough times. Just the other day I discovered that the cost of my favourite leafy vegetable has doubled due to a poor harvest. Well enough grocery moaning, lettuce get on with the review.


Fire Emblem Heroes puts players in the role of a tactician who must stop a loli sorceress from seizing control of Askar – a magical kingdom that houses gateways leading to the various Fire Emblem worlds. To triumph budding generals lead their troops against enemies whose ranks include clumsy maids and big-breasted ladies who ride atop wyverns (I wouldn’t mind Camilla riding my dragon hurr hurr.) All the tactical goodness one would expect from a Fire Emblem title is here, although some of the gameplay mechanics have been streamlined to better suit mobile audiences. Battles for example are waged on maps that are just one screen big and player controlled armies are limited to four warriors per skirmish.

One feature absent from Fire Emblem Heroes is permadeath. Units who perish in battle will revive once a level concludes, although incapacitated heroes will lose out on any experience accrued during that mission. Thank goodness that death is temporary because new soldiers are recruited by using up precious summon orbs. Said orbs are awarded for completing story levels and after that you’ll need to fork out real money to obtain more. If you are a cheapskate it’s possible to enlist the aid of low rank characters by completing daily challenges. Two star heroes aren’t great, but can be promoted in exchange for feathers obtainable via PVP. If you plan to promote someone to rank five be aware that you’ll need to collect more feathers than an OCD Assassin’s Creed player.


My rating for Fire Emblem Heroes is four stars. Despite its bite sized design Heroes manages to deliver the fun tactical combat Fire Emblem is renowned for. I like how levels can be speedily completed within minutes, but still retain a degree of strategy. Although more casual that other titles in the series you’ll still need to position troops correctly to take advantage of the infamous weapon triangle (archers are strong versus flying units, lancers deal bonus damage to swordsmen, lizard beats Spock etc.) Fans of the franchise will also enjoy how it is possible to amass an army comprised of stars from previous games. Who you enlist via summoning is totally random, which will annoy some people but I am okay with the character lottery. As an avid Hearthstone player I am well acquainted with the system of paying for RNG determined rewards.

Will I still be playing Fire Emblem Heroes a year from now? Only time will tell. I suspect grinding levels, dealing with the stamina bar that limits how much you can play per session and being pressured into buying orbs will wear down my enthusiasm eventually. All that said, at the time of writing, I have been playing Heroes for almost two weeks without spending a dime. Even if I elect to abandon the game tomorrow that’s terrific value for money. One could cite any number of full priced games that fail to retain a player’s interest for that long. No Man’s Sky for example gets stale far quicker than Fire Emblem Heroes and The Order 1886 has less content despite its hefty price tag. Forty quid for something that can be completed in a few hours? Bah, I could buy several lettuces for that fee.

17 thoughts on “Review of Fire Emblem Heroes

  1. I finally caved and got an iPhone a few days ago, this and Super Mario Run were the first two games I downloaded. I haven’t had a chance to play Fire emblem yet, but from the sounds of it it’s pretty good! I hope you decide to give the Mario Run game a chance – I don’t usually care for that genre either but it is a very quality game!

    • Congrats on getting your mitts on an iPhone. I wish I had one of those babies, but cannot justify paying for something that costs more than an iPod and a reasonably priced mobile combined.

      I may give Super Mario a chance as I have since heard that the game isn’t too long. If a game isn’t a huge time investment I am okay with giving it a chance, even if at first glance it doesn’t seem to be my cup of tea. To be honest the only Mario games I have completed are the first two Gameboy ones. I was a Sega Megadrive kid back in the day.

      • I actually never played any Mario games until I built my first Windows 95 PC as a kid. I learned about ROMS and Emulators and installed a SNES on it – I only spent money on Sega consoles though, all the way up to Dreamcast. (R.I.P!) A lot of my friends are really nostalgic about Mario games, but Sonic will always be my first and fondest memories of console gaming 🙂

  2. Couldn’t agree with you more. It’s a good game, it’s free and I think it can entice non-gamers to give the bigger games a try. Heck, It has me picking up Birthright again to do some grinding, as I was too weak to take on King Garon before. By the way, the 10 orbs you get just for linking to your Ninento account are nice!

    • Best of luck in toppling that wicked king. I am sure you can do it because Birthright is far easier than Conquest. With respect to Heroes I am worried that they will be less generous with orbs in the future. The stamina requirements of training missions for example are due to be increased.

      • Yeah, wondering about that too. It’s great at the beginning but pretty sure the challenges will be above my levels. And then there’s no more choice but to train our go to the Arena.

  3. Great review! All the cool people use Android, just saying. 🙂 Kidding of course! I’ve decided I’m staying away from this for now. I do love Fire Emblem but I need to focus on my goal to beat all the numbered Final Fantasy games this year. Even if it’s only bite sized, I don’t need another long term game stealing my short attention span, haha.

    • Sometimes I am envious of Android owners because some Apps are cheaper on their store. There have been cases however were iOS gets certain games first so it all evens out. I guess in the same way that there are console wars there are also feuds between mobile owners 🙂

      Best of luck on your Final Fantasy quest. If you are only interested in beating the story Fire Emblem’s nine chapters can be cleared fairly quick and battles don’t take long. You could probably play this during quick breaks without neglecting your more epic RPGs.

    • Yesterday I got a five star Camilla. I would weep too if she permanently vanished from my roster after one unlucky death.

      I’m sure they will continue to add more content, be it extra levels or characters, in the future. There’s a huge lineup of FE heroes they can pick from to include.

  4. Great review! I enjoyed the game too as a free, miniature version of Fire Emblem. There are parts missing like permadeath (honestly, thank goodness there’s none of that in this F2P game), but I appreciate the strategy elements for what they are. I don’t know if I’ll be playing this a week from now, just because I think I hit my limit by hitting a wall in Lunatic mode. I can no longer continue unless I buy more heroes or train up a new set of (probably) weaker heroes. I’m stuck unless I pay now, which is a downer of these kinds of games. Either way, I agree with that it’s a terrific value, since I haven’t spent anything on this fun experience!

    • You’ve gotten further than me because I am still working my way through hard mode. For now they are still drip feeding us orbs so you’ll be able to summon some new guys eventually. Good luck with the RNG. I managed to pick up a five star Camilla the other day so there is always hope of bolstering your army.

      • Thanks! I mean, I have 5-stars, including Camilla and Takumi. I’m just at a wall where my units literally do no damage at level 40. And they’re some of the best units! I guess I just have to hope for units that are better on the weapon triangle.

  5. For that matter, how does it feel, playing the free-to-play game completely free? Does it feel like it’s balanced for the people who actually pay for content to the expense of the free players, or is it still a complete experience for you?

    • Thus far I have completed the normal story and am one level away from finishing hard mode. I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything despite not being a paying customer. Compared to similar games Heroes seems to be more generous. I have unlocked two five star characters for example.

      All that said Nintendo are being generous at the moment to hook in players. When they stop giving away daily free orbs and hike up the stamina cost of levels I may feel differently.

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